ERSTWHILE Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay has to vacate his post after the Commission on Appointments unanimously rejected his ad interim appointment. The bicameral body found him less than perfect for the job for not being forthright on his acquisition of United States citizenship and passport.
To my knowledge, Yasay is only the third nominee/appointee rejected by the CA since 1987. He joins the late Miriam Defensor Santiago and Florencio Abad who were both thumbed down as Agrarian Reform Secretary during the tenure (“term” is incorrect) of President Cory.
Yasay could have saved himself the humiliation of being rejected had he not insisted on his confirmation by the CA. After all, he’s due for replacement by Senator Alan Peter Cayetano in May, a year after the 2016 elections. Oh well, I guess he wants to bask in the glory of being a confirmed Cabinet member even if for two months only.
Yasay’s appointment is one of the rare times when the CA bared its fangs. I’ve often thought this body was actually toothless. It bypassed Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez 25 times, then watched helplessly as President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo reappointed him 25 times. The CA eventually confirmed him after four long years, and after his operation for a debilitating disease.
Finance Secretary Gary Teves had to wait for three years before his appointment was confirmed. Nominees to the Cabinet Ronaldo Puno, Mike Defensor, Angelo Reyes, Heherson Alvarez and Antonio Cerilles underwent what they called a “humbling experience “ during their confirmation hearings. Yet, through all their ordeal, before their confirmation, they exercised the full powers of their office. They didn’t need to be confirmed to do so.
Not all appointees have a fetish for punishment. Law Dean Rufus Rodriguez asked GMA not to reappoint him as Philippine ambassador to Germany after he got bypassed just once. Rodriguez went on to win three terms as congressman representing Cagayan de Oro City.
Veteran journalist Amando Doronila also begged off from being reappointed Philippine ambassador to the European Union but only after his appointment was bypassed several times.
Going back to Yasay, he knew his status in the US. Perhaps, he didn’t expect Rappler to dig into this. Perhaps, he was no longer a US citizen when President Rodrigo Duterte appointed him. He ruined everything when he said under oath that he was never a US citizen and he never had a US passport. He could have just admitted that he was, but gave it up years ago.
Did he give up his US citizenship before his appointment as head of the Securities and Exchange Commission during the Ramos presidency? Or before he ran for senator in 2001? This issue should no longer be pursued. Leave him now in peace. Say, what will be his status should he return to Hawaii?
The first transgender lawmaker of the country, Rep. Geraldine Roman of Bataan, voted to restore the death penalty despite her earlier pronouncements that her conscience tells her to oppose it. She may not have intended it, but this transgender has just proved that she has no balls.
The same cannot be said of Deputy Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo of Pampanga, Rep. Edcel Lagman of Albay, Rep. Raul del Mar of Cebu City, Rep. Vilma Santos Recto of Batangas, Rep. Kit Belmonte of Quezon City and 49 others who ignored the threats of Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez.
I find it surprising that Majority Leader Rodolfo Farinas of Ilocos Sur is more cool-headed than Alvarez. Farinas reined in the hotheaded Alvarez who wanted to go immediately against the opponents of the death penalty bill.
Farinas also saw red at the opposition of the Catholic Church to the reimposition of the death penalty. In his pique, he vowed to pass a measure that would remove the tax exemption of schools owned by religious organizations. Let’s see if he can make good this threat once the Iglesia ni Cristo speaks out. The politically powerful INC runs the New Era College.
In July-August last year, Manila Mayor Erap Estrada drove out sidewalk vendors from Divisoria, greatly improving the flow of traffic in this problem area. The sight of streets freed of sidewalk vendors led admirers of President Rodrigo Duterte to gush: “See? Just a few weeks after Duterte took over, Divisoria is now very clean!”
Huh! Why credit Duterte? It was an Erap project through and through!
Well, you should go and see Divisoria now. The sidewalk vendors are back with a vengeance. In fact, it’s now more congested than before. I can almost hear Duterte’s admirers heaping the blame on Erap for the return of the vendors. They’ll say Divisoria is part of Manila and the President has nothing to do with it.